6 Tips for Easier Laundromat Trips

Laundromat with washing machines and tiled floor

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Going to a laundromat or a public laundry room in your apartment complex or dorm is no one's favorite activity. However, there are ways to make laundry trips quicker, easier, and even less costly. Learn the top six tips to save you time, money, and get the best results for your laundry efforts.

  • 01 of 06

    Sort Your Laundry at Home

    Clothes sorted in separate white and black laundry mesh bags for laundromat

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    If you sort your laundry at home, you'll save time and have more workspace than at the laundromat. You'll arrive at the laundromat feeling more organized and you'll be able to immediately grab machines and get the loads underway.

    Use pillowcases or different colored laundry bags for the sorted white and dark clothes for each load.

    Another way to save time; have plenty of the correct change. Change machines are often broken and your fellow users may not have the change to share. Prepare before you go!

  • 02 of 06

    Take Your Own Detergent

    Powdered detergent kept in plastic bags to transport to laundromat next to white scoop

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    The single-use detergent packs sold at laundromats typically cost more than double what you pay per load for products brought from home so take your detergent and other products with you.

    While large containers of detergent are often the most cost-effective, there is no need to haul large containers on each trip to the laundry room. If you prefer a powdered detergent formula, scoop the correct amount for each load into small plastic sealed bags. Liquid detergents or fabric softeners can go in a small plastic container with a tight lid. Just be sure take a measuring cup so you use an accurate amount of detergent.

    You can also opt for single load detergents and fabric softeners. They are more expensive per load, but the convenience is unmatched. You'll save money by bringing them from home rather than purchasing at the laundromat. One of the easiest to transport and use is ECOSNEXT liquidless laundry detergent. The cleaning ingredients are embedded in a dissolvable sheet. They are lightweight and very simple to use.

    What's the best detergent for the laundromat? Only you can determine the best detergent for your household

  • 03 of 06

    Check the Washer and Dryer Before Using

    Old blue rag wiping down washing machine before using

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    Before you set clothes on top of the washer or dryer make sure the surface is clean. At best, you'll get a sticky detergent residue. At worst, you'll find chlorine bleach that will permanently ruin your clothes.

    Always keep an old rag or towel handy and give the washer or folding table a quick wipe down. Always check any automatic bleach dispensers to make sure they are empty and dry. If not, use a paper towel to soak up any leftover bleach.

    If the appliance is stained or dirty or not working correctly, be a good Samaritan and clean it up or at least report the problem to the manager.

    Look inside appliances, too. You never know what the last person left in the washer or dryer. Not everyone is considerate. You may find a tube of lipstick that was left in a pocket and then gets left in the dryer or washer. It's worth a few extra seconds to check before you have to deal with the aftermath.

    You may also find leftover clothing. Just one red sock can turn an entire load of clothes pink. Remove the clothing and leave it in the laundromat's lost and found bin. 

    One last tip, look at the settings on the machine before you hit start. The last thing you need is a load of delicate lingerie traveling through hot water and the heavy-duty cycle that the last person used.

  • 04 of 06

    Use the Dryers Wisely

    Lint trap cleaned and inserted back into dryer in laundromat

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    Before you start the dryer make sure the lint trap is clean. You'll prevent fires and your clothes will dry faster, saving you money. Find a warm dryer because starting with a dryer that is already warm will get those clothes done more quickly.

    As you load the clothes into the dryer, fluff each piece of clothing by giving it a quick shake. The clothes will dry more quickly and with fewer wrinkles. Be sure you get everything in the dryer before you start it up. Opening and closing the door loses heat and time.

    Now that you've spent all that money and time getting those clothes dry, be sure they arrive home that way. Keep a large black plastic bag with your laundry supplies just in case you encounter rain on the way home.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Use Smart Phone Laundry Apps

    Smart phone laundry app to keep track of laundromat cycles

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    Smartphone and other mobile device laundry applications can help you find a laundromat, translate care labels, and treat stains with helpful tips. Laundromats are the perfect place to put them to use.

    One must-have app is a laundry timer so you can run errands or concentrate on something else while your clothes are washing. The app gets you back to the machine when the cycle ends, preventing the disaster of someone else dumping your wet or freshly dried clothes on the floor.

  • 06 of 06

    Go Green

    Front-loading washing machines in laundromat to go green

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    If you want to reduce your carbon footprint at the laundromat, opt for a front-loading washer instead of a top loader because it uses 50 percent less water. Always wash a full load (you'll save money that way, too), choose a bio-based laundry detergent, and use cold water as much as possible.

    Skip the laundromat dryers and take your clothes home to air dry. If you do use the dryers, fold or hang clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer to reduce wrinkling and to skip ironing later.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Water Efficiency Management Guide Residential Kitchen and Laundry. Environmental Protection Agency.